Going Beyond Pain for an Everlasting Gold

shun-fujimoto-ssDay 536. Shun Fujimoto. For most people, this name is unknown. In 1976 were held the Montreal Olympics. During those, the little prodigy Nadia Comăneci, got the first ever perfect 10 at the uneven bars (that was displayed 1.00 because the scoreboard had only 3 digits, as nobody ever expected a 10.00), but one of the other striking events was the gold medal of the Japanese gymnastic team, winning ahead of the dominant Russian team.

Victory was given to the Japanese by one man: Shun Fujimoto, getting a good 9.5 on the pommel horse and 9.7 on the rings. However, Shun participated in both events, with a broken knee cap! He broke is knee during the floor exercise, but did not want to let his team down. He therefore participated in the pommel horse and rings, which did not require standing station, but at the end of the exercise. If you ever broke a bone in your body, you know how this hurts (although endorphins generated by the physical exercise will sooth the pain temporarily). Shun participated, going over this pain, and the Japanese team won the everlasting Olympics gold medal.

Temporary pain was less important than the everlasting pride to have won an Olympics gold medal. Every time I face a hurdle in my life, I keep coming back to this athlete in Montreal (an easy memory for me as I was in Montreal at that time and had the chance to witness the French gold medal of Guy Drut on the 110m hurdles, but that’s another story). I do not know if I would have been capable to do what Shun did. It’s an example of what the brain can help you achieve when you value long term over short term. Are you ready?

Thank God It’s (already/only) Friday!



Day 535. TGIF! Everybody knows what it means. It means that for a majority of people, this is the last working day of the week before a two-day week-end. Of course, this alludes to the fact that working is a chore and yes, the last day of a chore feels good. But it has another subtle meaning: the last four days were days of suffering and yes, this is about to be over!

Now, the question you have to ask yourself is: are you ready to spend five seventh of your life (around 70%) of your life suffering? I am not! Once image I always refer to is the coin. A coin has two faces, although it’s the same coin. A job has two faces to, and it’s your decision to look at the one you want. Either you chose to make it valuable and pleasurable, or invaluable and disagreeable. With the later, TGIF (but man, WTF). In the former, what? TGI already/only F! I had a great week and I look forward to Monday.

This is not about enjoying what you dislike, it’s about making your life a pleasurable experience. We have only one life I believe, and this should be a life of everyday happiness. Easier said than done? It’s a choice, like every action you take or do not take. Ready to toss the coin?

Nothing ever works as expected



Day 534. Whatever you plan, whatever you do, never ever expect things to run and work as expected. There will always be this tiny cloud in front of the sun, this speck of sand in the sandal, this small black dot on the white page. So be it! You can always wait for the cloud to move, get the sand out and wipe clean the while page, but it will have been an unexpected hurdle.

Ever ran a marathon? If you do, there will always be a moment you will want to quit, even if you went through the best ever preparation and started with a high spirit. And this is the exact moment you should NOT quit. This is the exact moment you have to take action to go beyond this moment. You may call it the wall of pain, Murphy’s law, sh*t happens, whatever. It will happen and you have to go through.

This is generally the reason why people do not plan. If you do not plan you’re never surprised. True and false. Because if you plan, you are prepared, whereas when you do not plan, you’re unprepared. Change is natural and nothing works as expected. This is a basic rule of any project. Get prepared and go! Do not quit!

You define your limits and are authorized to push them out



Day 533. The universe has no limit. We tend to think that our own world has its own limits. Of course, your eyes define the limits of what you can see. But the mind defines the limits of what you can imagine. With today’s technology, our own world does not have limits anymore. We have an almost unlimited ways to connect and an almost unlimited connections available.

We can send our information and our products to the other side of the planet, and even the astronaut, Chris Hadfield, has shown that music can even be made in space and broadcasted on our blue planet. The limits are gone! Therefore, you are only limited by the limits you impose to you. Of course, you may say that we are limited by our own resources. True, but there are almost limitless resources out there, it’s a matter of willingness to go, ask for them and use them.

All great successes relied on external resources at one point. If mankind was playing within its limits, it would never have gone to the moon. And then, there are all these vultures and crows out there, complaining about the crisis and the horror it created, about global warming and that we are killing the planet (the planet will survive thank you). Although it’s important to look for ways to do things better, fairer and with more compassion and help, the sky is not the limit anymore. Break the barriers, be bold, give you the authorization to go beyond the limits, nobody else can give it to you but you!

Repetition makes perfection



Day 532. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and when you’re done, repeat again. An actor on a stage has rehearsed an incredible amount of time to make you feel the play is natural. A habit ingrained in our behavior is the consequence of thousands of conscious or unconscious repetition. If you want to play a music instrument, you’ll need to repeat hundreds of time a sequence before it becomes « natural » for your fingers.

And we want things to be perfect in a matter of hours! It’s foolish! The 10,000-hour principles describes by Malcom Gladwell is the book Outliers, though it can be proven wrong sometimes, shows that perfection does not come overnight, but it the consequence of hours and hours and hours of repetition, of work. Rome was not build on a day, as the old saying goes, and so is perfection.

The path to success is neither straight nor easy, it’s not what is shown in magazines or on TV. The path to success is paved with sweat, blood and tears to paraphrase Winston Churchill. Your goal is there to be reached, it’s your choice to put the efforts to make it, and to fall one hundred times and stand up one hundred and one times.

Tomorrow will be too late…



Day 531. I was busy, I was tired, I was about to say, tomorrow is fine. But no, tomorrow is day 532, and day 531’s post has to be written and published on day 531, so this is it. Just a simple post to remind that a commitment is a commitment, today is today, tomorrow’s another day. Never think doing tomorrow what you can do today.

Delivering on a commitment on the promised day is putting off a weight carried on your shoulders, and building the trust in yourself and the trust others give you. It’s simple, but sometimes difficult. It’s the simplest things that are the hardest, and the one that are so overlooked by mediocre people. It’s generally not a matter of great effort, it’s just a matter of being true to your words. Have a good night! Mine will be, I put the weight on the floor.

Taking risks means accepting learning



Day 530. Every month, my boss’s boss reminds everybody that either we win or we… learn. I like the idea, because it shifts with subtlety to a positive stance. Popular wisdom says that the « winner takes it all » and the others get nothing. Actually, you can say the others get nothing and if you are one of the others, you can put in your minds that you lost and got nothing.

However, it’s your choice to decide whether you got nothing or got something. Because I truly believe, you got something invaluable: you tried and did not come first. The two questions being: Why did not I come first? What should I do differently do come first? And this is the best learning ever. Coming second or third is a blessing, as much as coming first. First gets the reward, second gets the learning.

If you start looking at potential failure as learning experiences, you will change the perception you have of risks. This does not mean you should start to act foolishly as consequences of foolish behaviors can be dramatic, but this will make your decision making process fluid and bold.

Success is all about getting ready, going for it, and laugh



Day 529. After a long day at the 2015 Mauritius Toastmasters convention, and having won the Humorous speech contest, two things come clear:

– If you want to succeed, rehearse, cut, rehearse, cut again, rehearse, cut more, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and go!

– When shit hits, laugh, make fool of yourself, laugh at the shit and make it your ally. Martial art tells to use the energy of the enemy against him, today I understood it!

Your mistakes make your success!

When you’re hit, kick back…



Day 528. I talked multiple times about resistance, the little voice in your head that stops you. However, sometimes, it is the external voice that is hitting you badly. A surprising fact is generally, those voices come by two, three or four. It feels like a gang of thugs coming to hit you badly.

However, excluding all physical injuries, even when reality hits, the way you react starts in your mind. Because of our natural evolution for hundreds of thousands of years, we are not wired to stay flat, we are wired to kick back, to fight. The fight will generate the level of dopamine, endorphins, and adrenaline necessary to fight cortisol in our bodies. This is the natural fuel our brain generates to get back on our feet.

So, when you’re hit, even badly, regroup, breathe and kick back!

The fallacy of leaving a legacy



Day 527. I love personal development and am committed to personal growth. For the last couple of years a recurring theme has surfaced in most if not all personal development publications: leaving a legacy. Basically, think about what you will leave once you’re gone. I thought about it, trying to identify the one or two things that would make me live, work and play differently to leave the so-called legacy and I came to the following conclusion: there’s a deep confusion between doing our best possible work and working to leave a legacy.

Did Galileo Galilei want to leave a legacy? No! He wanted to prove the earth was orbiting the sun. And for that he did his best possible work.

Did Martin Luther King want to leave a legacy? No! He wanted equal rights for all. And for that he did his best possible work.

Did Marie Curie want to leave a legacy? No! She discovered radio-activity and wanted to use it to generate energy. And for that she did her best possible work.

I could go and on and on. All those famous individuals did not have the goal to leave a legacy, they had a goal to reach and delivered masterful work. Because they did masterful work and stand above many other individuals, they left a legacy. Legacy is not something YOU chose, is something you leave and OTHERS chose. Legacy is a product of your masterful work. Forget the legacy, focus on your art and craft, and day in, day out, produce the best for you and others. Legacy will follow by itself.